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The mission of the AIA Design for Aging (DFA) Knowledge Community is to foster design innovation and disseminate knowledge necessary to enhance the built environment and quality of life for an aging society. This includes relevant research on characteristics, planning and costs associated with innovative design for aging. In addition, DFA provides outcome data on the value of these design solutions and environments.

COVID resources

Strategies for Safer Senior Living Communities
This resource includes strategies for dining facilities, amenity spaces, and individual units. Download >

Pandemic Prognostication - A common sense approach to Senior Living Design 

12-01-2020 02:57 PM

Pandemic Prognostication provides an overview of the state of Senior housing in the current COVID-19 pandemic as of November 2020 and our best guess on future impacts to communities and designs.

The combination of so many unknown factors of the COVID-19 virus spread and our most venerable population lead to extreme isolation and lockdowns at communities across the country as everyone reacted to keep seniors safe. These lockdowns resulted in severe isolation and loneliness, a critical factor in poor health outcomes for seniors. Owners, facility managers, architects, and engineers scrambled in the spring to understand how to reduce virus spread with a population having mobility limitations and being indoors most of the time. As the dust settled, some standards emerged like social distancing, increasing air filtration and fresh air in buildings, and limiting access strategically. As the length of the lockdowns extended, communities realized that they could not sustain the extreme isolation.

Many of our existing building designs limit implementing new protocols. New layouts of smaller sizes, with more flexible spaces, increased outdoor areas, touch-free everything, and new technologies will most likely be the future of our communities. Staffing, filtration, and technology will begin to step into the spotlight of our designs. Congregant dining, a critical social experience in senior housing, will undergo many changes.

The panel agrees that the pandemic is still in full swing, and the future is unknown. However, these new design changes will increase the residents' health during every day and future viral spreading events, like flu season, another dangerous virus for seniors.



Eric McRoberts AIA, RLPS

David Banta AIA, Wiencek Associates

Sarah Gregory AIA, Cooper Carry

Recorded 11/2/2020

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